Facebook and Twitter have announced that they have suspended or removed fake accounts linked to Iran and Russia over “inauthentic” or “manipulating” behaviour.
Cyber security firm FireEye tipped Facebook off to the accounts it says are likely to be part of an Iranian state media network and are dedicated to pushing Iranian foreign policy aims. Among these appear to be the election of Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish independence.
The Iranian backed pages date back to 2011 and also spread over into Instagram, Twitter and Youtube.
There was a wide range of Facebook pages from “Free Scotland 2014” to “The British Left”. The pages were followed by almost one million Facebook users and could have been used to influence the public.
The Telegraph reports:
Facebook has shared its finding with the US and UK governments and confirmed it would be making changes to ensure it was able to “better detect people” attempting to create similar pages in the future.
In a press conference last night, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said the network of accounts “were misleading people about who they were and what they were doing”, adding that it was imperative that users were “able to trust the connections” they make on the site.
Mr Gleicher added: “We saw content targeting people across multiple Internet platforms in the Middle East, the US, the UK, and Latin America.
“Our investigation, building off of this tip from FireEye, was able to expand this initial network of assets linked to Liberty Front Press and link it to Iranian state media.
“In total, we found 74 Pages, 70 accounts, and three Groups on Facebook, as well as 76 accounts on Instagram that were associated with Liberty Front Press.
“What we’re seeing here is a coordinated network, but the assets themselves were not presenting a coordinated front in terms of how they identified themselves.”
FireEye plans to release a full report into the activity but has not specified a date.